Written by Colton Rooney
Water is the source of life, as it actively is the foundation for maintaining a healthy physical state as well as increasing mental cognition. Many neglect just how much water we require and it's lasting benefits compared to other fluids.
Hydration is essential for your body to perform some of its most important functions, some of which include:
Carrying nutrients and oxygen to the cells in our body
Normalizing blood pressure
Aiding in digestion
Protecting our organs and tissues
Sufficient hydration also provides benefits include
Strengthening brain function
Heightening temperature regulation
Increasing oxygen flow across the muscle groups
Helping with weight loss
To put it simply, the body cannot function without the proper amount of fluids, making hydration vital to natural human endeavor.
Benefits of Hydration to Athletes
Hydration is important for everyone, regardless of athletic performance, but athletes tend to require more than others due to their higher tendency to sweat. In order to maintain body temperature and replace lost fluids when sweating, athletes need to make an active effort to hydrate. Conversely, a dehydrated athlete means a higher body temperature, decreased blood flow throughout the skin, and a more fatigued and unmotivated athlete. Additionally, athletes focusing on strength training will find more effective results with proper hydration, as hydrated muscles activate more protein synthesis, while dehydrated muscles actually hinder protein synthesis, impacting muscle gains.
Additionally, hydration is integral to helping preventing injuries during both cardio workouts as well as strength training. As previously mentioned, dehydrated muscles are responsible for heightened muscle fatigue. Because of this, athletes can become prone to injure themselves due to exhaustion and technical failures in their workout. Also, strength and cardio workouts are sweaty endeavors, meaning constant hydration is a must for thermoregulation and preventing dizziness or passing out. Conclusively, hydration before and after workouts also pose benefits such as increased blood circulation and heavier oxygen supply to muscles.
Daily Recommendation: Specific recommendations for individual athletes depend on body mass, sweat rate, environment, and tolerance. However, a good rule of thumb is to aim for around half an ounce of per pound of bodyweight daily (ex: a 180 pound athlete should drink 90 oz of water a day).
Hydrating with Exercise: The American College of Sports Medicine recommends:
Before exercise: 14-22 oz of fluid 2 hours before exercise
During exercise: 6-12 oz of water or sports drink every 15-20 min of exercise
After exercise: 16-24 oz of water or sports drink for every pound of body mass lost during exercise
General Benefits of Hydration
Beyond athletic performance, hydration offers a range of health benefits that can improve the lives of everyone regardless of activity level.
1) Sufficient hydration helps with brain function, including improved cognition, strengthened concentration, and increased emotion control.
2) Hydration is also integral for proper digestion as fluids are known for breaking down foods and absorbing nutrients. An insufficient amount of fluids can lead to irregular bowl movements and other potentially uncomfortable effects like heartburn.
3) Adequate fluid intake also helps maintain blood volume. When dehydrated, blood thickens and can result in low blood pressure, and dizziness.
Most importantly, hydration provides energy! Preventing dehydration means less fatigue, higher concentration, and more incentive to put spare energy into working out!
Choose Water for Hydration
Hydration options are generally associated with any type of fluid that quenches thirst, yet some fluids lack the qualities that water offers. Sugar-filled drinks such as sodas tend to have the opposite effect of water as they make people feel thirstier. They also provide no significant macronutrients and serve solely as empty calories. Importantly, added sugars cause inflammation in the body, which leads to a whole host of negative effects, including fat storage and weight gain. Water, on the other hand, is calorie-free and assists in weight loss. Though sports drinks offer electrolytes and carbs for athletes, they provide nothing substantial for a general audience with a low activity level. Similarly, energy drinks feature dangerous amounts of caffeine as well as high amounts of sugars and additives which could have damaging long-term effects.
Water remains the universally most thirst-quenching and helpful drink for providing energy and generally improving brain cognition.
CoreForm360 recommends you challenge yourself by being more conscious about how much water you drink daily and take note of progress! Learn more about us here...